Friday, July 20, 2018

Windy, Cloudy Cool (-ish) day in Muscatine. Happy Anniversary Ethan and Cheryl.

Muscatine!   Dark and Brooding.
That is correct.   Today is our Anniversary.   22 years of pure Torture!   Or Bliss...  depending on who you ask.

Evil Bike with Evil  pedals and Laughter!
We spent the day in Muscatine.... But before I get into that...  a little rant.

How it works. 
Bicycle pedals must be the most infuriating necessary Evil ever created to annoy bicyclists... ( with a Capital "E"!)    Sure!   They are part of the mechanics that allow forward motion...BUT   act like a Roman Chariot Blade hubs when you try to walk or get off your bike.  Unless you enjoy walking like a seriously bowlegged Cowboy or lean like a step ladder,  Those pedals will bite you in the back of your calf.   And leave a mark!
What it looks like. Hmm Bear trap?
What I look like... After biking.
How do I know?    Because even though I carefully avoid situations where I have to hop off a moving bike,  it still happens.   And my legs look like I ran backwards through a Black Berry Patch!   At first I liked the Trek bike having pedals with "serious" cleats to grip my shoe and keep it engaged.   But now, I only look at them as blades to a blender that want nothing more than to hamburger up my meat walkers!

There!    Now on to the day.

Cheryl ready to run!
Cheryl facing the train.
Overcast!   Rainy.  Cool.   Nice....   Perfect for outdoor activity.   I should note that our project ended a day early, allowing us to enjoy this day fully.   Cheryl wanted to run a bit of it and then bike the rest.   We set out to run/bike 22 miles on our 22 anniversary.   I guess that seems like a good way to celebrate it.   At least until we hit the 100 year mark!   That might be tough.
On our 100th Anniversary?   100 miles?   It could happen.....
Cheryl facing the Fountain!

Cheryl facing the Geese!
Running was easy enough.  11 miles!   Cheryl has big plans...  for staying healthy and not growing old... I guess.  Aside from the Geese,  there was not much else to note.   Muscatine usually has a train or two.  And they are always cool to watch and try to decipher the Graffitti.
Ok, let's bike. 

Without the training wheels.
On to biking!   Cheryl wanted to check out a new place near the YMCA.   Wouldn't you know it,  there was a class on how to ride a bike.    I wanted to join up, but Cheryl thought we were too old.
Perfect Refueling Material.
Now!   We EAT! 

That bike path was seriously hilly!   And, having already ran/biked 11 miles,  we were looking for something a little more.... level.  With lunch time approaching,  Cheryl suggested Tee's for some "Racing Fuel!"     A Banana Split and Peanut Parfait later, we were ready to go!
Eh,  It's alright. 

Almost missed seeing that Train.
Another annoying thing... (because I get annoyed so easily after riding a bike for 11 miles...up and down hills....and ripping my legs up on angry bike pedals...)  is the "Train Safety Rail" to prevent people from getting hit by the frequent trains.   Despite Cheryl's sunglasses, lack of direction, poor hearing, and general lack of observation.... she still managed to notice the train before she crossed the tracks.   I could see why the train might be missed...being so small and quiet.    It is difficult to see with that tree in the way.

Read the sign!  Pause by the gate.
How do you get a bike through?
But I'm guessing that the locals see the barrier to the bike path as a little over zealous in the citie's desire for 100%  public safety.   Looks like the rails have been moved several times to allow for walkers, runners and perhaps cyclist to pass through easier.   My guess is that the cyclists will never be able to pass through until the lengthen the distance between gates.  OR remove the thing all together!
     Looks like someone has an Idea...     

Small portable fire pit.   We shall see. 
So now we are home and are planning a little outdoor fire in our new, little, portable, fire pit.   We brought home several pieces of drift wood just for the occasion.   What could be better than enjoying a fire outside on a cool, overcast day?  (Well,  I guess a lot of things....  But this would have to be one of them!)   Perhaps I will snap a few pics of that if we don't burn anything down in the process.      We shall see.   As for now,  thanks for stopping in.   And have a great Weekend!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

A Fine Summer Day.

Rainy bike Ride

Well,  Fine for Iowa I guess.   It continues to be hot here.   With a rather obnoxious humidity.   It has been raining off and on today.   And the temps have cooled about 10 degrees with the coming front.   But that Humidity..  Baaa!   You sweat even when you are not doing anything strenuous.

Subie Front.. looks pretty good!
Cheryl and I went out for our usual 15 miles bike ride.   And just finished capping things off with a fried food dinner.   Mushrooms and some onion rings.   With some Big Grove Beer.  Yum!   What could be better on a hot summer day?  ( Ok,  Lots of things I guess, but this is one of them!)
West Main Wheat Beer.  Summer tasty!


Cheryl inspects the Tomatoes. 
I should note that the heat and humidity are having a positive effect on the tomatoes!  I did not have to water them today, thanks  to the rain,  but the humidity and constant sunshine have really sped up the ripening process.

Sampling the Cherry Tomatoes 
Are they red yet?
   The Cherry Tomatoes are already turning colors.   I picked a few and sampled them.  I'm sure they have not reached their true potential, but I still found them sweet and tasty.  I can't wait for the heirlooms to start ripening.  If things work out, I'll be blogging about tomato sandwiches again in no time.


Similar to a hummingbird moth.
Along with the rise in Tomato plants,  comes the potential for a 5 spotted hawk moth to come visit.   i.e. a Tomato Horn Worm.   Personally,  I like these things.   They look like tiny humming birds hovering around the Hastas.
Last year's friend.

And they are a Brilliant, Large Moth!   But to get to that phase,  they need to eat.   My plants are so huge, I doubt they would even notice a few leaves missing.  Heck, I prune off entire branches just to get them under control!   So why not let this cute little guy have a
 feast for a while.

Let's move him here...
I found a new friend!
The problem is,  I removed him and se him up on the potted plants.  I thought he would be safer there,  but after a day, he went missing.   I'm kinda bummed as I wanted to see him grow up and transform... like last year.  I'm hoping that he got bored of the smaller plants and left on his own.  But we do have a bunch of wasps and hornets and ants around here that would find him to be a tasty meal. I did not want any harm to come to him, that was not my intention of moving him.  I probably should have put him in a small container and fed him... like a pet.  Then, at least, I would know he was fine.

Summer Boletes
Clam shell Mushrooms!
I'm hoping that the rains will bring about the Boletes in the Coralville path.  The larger ones happen mid to late summer.  With our little fried mushroom dinners,  I would be interested to sample a new mushroom.  Incidentally,   We tested out a new mushroom today.  the Clam Shell mushroom...  From Michigan!    Wouldn't you know that Michigan would begin growing Hops and Mushrooms AFTER we left it.   (As if they did not want to do those things simply because we lived there.)   Cheryl noted that they were "tougher" than the button mushrooms and I thought they had the texture and taste of clams.   Hence... the name.   Cheryl wants to have them again.... and that is saying quite a bit.
Taste like.... Clams!   From Michigan!

Hope everyone is staying cool out there.   And if you are not playing in the rain,   or do not like getting wet,  then stay dry and enjoy the summer from your covered porch. ( or other dry, shaded place.)   Thanks for stopping in.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Bikes, Beer, Mushrooms, and Touching Up The Subaru.

Earth Time with Cheryl, Beer, and Deep Fried Mushrooms!
Yesterday and today have been the same theme:  Relaxing.   Or at least doing things that we find enjoyable.  I guess you could say that is a form of relaxation.  Technically.
With plenty of Relaxation.

Cheryl and I have been hitting the rail pretty hard these last couple of days.

Coming through Wellman Iowa. Soon!

Train of Bikes.
We learned for sure today, that RAGBRAI will be running through Wellman.  I'm no sure we will even be here since we will be starting another project tomorrow.  But it will be exciting to see so many bikes riding through our town.   And who knows?  If the opportunity presents itself, there still might be a slight chance that we could join them for a day.  (Well,  to Iowa City anyway...) 

Riding in the heat
Cheryl suits up.


In the mean time,  15 miles a day!   Plus any bonus running Cheryl can pull off in this heat.  Some people might not find that very "relaxing",  But we seem to.   Call us crazy!

While staying in the shade.
Let's fry up those Mushrooms!
With the fried Fish and Mushrooms working out so well last Sunday,   Cheryl wanted to cook up the remaining mushrooms in the beer batter.  We even purchased some Trumpet Mushrooms ( from Michigan!) from the store and tried them out in the mix.
Cheryl is excited.
The first round!  Trumpets!



Beer battered anything is awesome enough.  But the mix of mushrooms was delicious!   Add in that we washed it down with a summer Ale.


Trumpets and Buttons.  Mmmm Good!
Why not eat them outside?

 Keeping with the Bike riding theme,  Cheryl selected the Long Ride from Confluence.  Light and refreshing as every summer beer should be.   Whether mowing the lawn or laying outside and enjoying deep fried mushrooms,  the pairing was excellent.
With some Biking Beer!

Good color,  Very Refreshing.
With the remainder of the afternoon open,  I decided to tackle the hood of the Subaru.  The Iowa gravel has done a number on poor Subie.  I sis not want the rust to get out of hand here, so I thought I would just sand and grind down the pock marks and touch up a little. 
Let's fix these dings.

Sanding down the holes.




There were even a few holes on the roof!  Better get those before they become serious!
Grinding out the rust with Dremel.

Even a ding up on the roof!
I thought it would be a simple ordeal...  but I underestimated slightly.   At least I did not have to break out any of the Bondo!



Subie take a Beating from Iowa Gravel.
Primer it up.




Sand it smooth.
Now add paint.
 Even without those steps,  it is taking a full two days.  Even now, I'm waiting for the clear coat to finish drying for a last finishing coverage. Unlike the fenders, I think you can tell the difference in the paint on the hood.

   I keep telling myself that "perfection" is not really the goal here.   I'm very happy with "slightly better than good enough"!  Where ever that falls on the "quality scale".

Sanding it down again.


Three coats for protection. 


As long as there are no visible signs of rust, no serious paint flaws... I will be happy.   I know the job will probably only last a year or two, but why not have Subie look his best for as long as he can?





I think you can see the paint difference. 
And now,  Clear Coat!


Hiro and Cheryl reading together.

So that is all for now.  Pearson begins tomorrow and we will be back at it for another week or two.  I was happy to get this far with the body work on the Subaru.   I may have to wait even longer before taking on that large dent in the front passenger side.

   In the mean time,  Cheryl reclines and reads her  Magazine with the cat.   Hiro has been enchanted with Cheryl's latest hobby,   String Art jewelry!  Perhaps I will blog about that when I have more time and pictures.   Thanks for stopping in.

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